When Michael Chiarello of Napa Valley's Bottega entertains friends, he loves serving simple foods in dramatic ways—for instance, grilling one giant burger instead of six individual ones. Here’s how to do it: Form two 2-pound patties and stuff them with cheese and onions that have been sautéed in wine. Grill the patties and set them on a round, hollowed-out loaf of bread (such as a levain). Cut the burgers into six wedges and serve with a platter of condiments.
“I want to drop Dijon mustard into everything,” says Alex Guarnaschelli, host of TV’s Alex’s Day Off. “It has tremendous acidity and richness, and it’s a natural thickener. Plus it’s so flavorful: It’s that SWAT team to the rescue.”
“The $24 spaghetti from Scott Conant’s Scarpetta in NYC is so delicious,” says Roy Choi of L.A.’s Kogi empire. “My $4 version tastes almost as good.” Roy’s trick: flavoring tomato sauce with a quick mushroom broth and slow-cooked garlic.